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I am planning on visiting a local lake this weekend and was thinking I could teach Jade how to swim... I had planned on going into the water with her and easing her in (if that's possible, I don't think 'ease' is in her mindset!! :rolleyes: ), maybe take her ChuckIt Squirrel to play with. I've never swam with any dogs before, nor have any of my dogs ever learned/been taught how to swim.

 

Any suggestions?? Words of caution??

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I can't be of too much help, but I'll try. Piper and Skyler are both 6 months. Neither of them actually swim yet, but with both, I just let them wade and splash around and it seems everytime we go swimming they get a little more brave and venture in a little further. I think if you just let them go at their own pace they will eventually swim if they want or not. Some dogs just don't really care for the water.

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Skye only swims to go after balls or frisbees or sticks. Because she is so competitive, she figured out that she had to not only swim, but swim fast to get there first! Her competitive nature also induced her to take a flying leap off the dock to reach balls before anybody else -- if its a close race, she practically levitates while swim-growling. It is a scary sight....

 

In terms of teaching, I figure you have to make it worth their while ... throwing sticks, or other stuff that you don`t mind losing (unless you`re going to retrieve it when they decide not to!) or going out yourself and calling them after you, or I`ve seen people throw kibble or cookies in the water for them to go after. Just make sure they float and don`t go all soggy right away. :rolleyes:

 

Whatever you do, don`t throw her in! I did this stupidly with my first bc Riley and she NEVER forgave me... :D

Like Skyler said, some dogs only ever wade and never get into swimming.

 

 

Ailsa

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First, grasshopper, ask yourself why you want a swimming dog. :rolleyes:

 

The labs who swim in the lakes and ponds (and sludgy, slimy, dead-frog-floating-in swamps) around here always seem to take on a vaguely putrefying odor in the summer. So I've come to see it as a blessing that my dog is scared of water.

 

Having said that, I did try to teach Buddy to swim once. I brought real chicken, waded out deep and tried to lure him. No go. So I carried him out just over his depth, and let go. He clung to me so hard with his front paws that my stomach was scratched up. He was TERRIFIED of going under. I'm pretty sure he thinks he'll sink and drown. It wasn't worth the stomach-scratching and dog-traumatizing, to me.

 

Good luck. I imagine a swimming dog is a happy dog in summer!

 

Mary

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First, grasshopper, ask yourself why you want a swimming dog. :rolleyes:

 

I want to teach her to swim mostly as a safety precaution. I want her to know how to just in case she runs away or gets away from me and would happen to fall into a pool or pond or something, god forbid. I don't really swim much, nor am I around water much, just thought it might be useful to teach her.

 

The thought of the slimy gross waters in most lakes around here kind of turn me off, but I'm sure that will make Jade enjoy it a lot more!! :D

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First, grasshopper, ask yourself why you want a swimming dog. :rolleyes:

 

The labs who swim in the lakes and ponds (and sludgy, slimy, dead-frog-floating-in swamps) around here always seem to take on a vaguely putrefying odor in the summer. So I've come to see it as a blessing that my dog is scared of water.

 

Having said that, I did try to teach Buddy to swim once. I brought real chicken, waded out deep and tried to lure him. No go. So I carried him out just over his depth, and let go. He clung to me so hard with his front paws that my stomach was scratched up. He was TERRIFIED of going under. I'm pretty sure he thinks he'll sink and drown. It wasn't worth the stomach-scratching and dog-traumatizing, to me.

 

Good luck. I imagine a swimming dog is a happy dog in summer!

 

Mary

 

 

HaHa, this is what I have asked myself!

 

My family had a golden retriever when I was younger and a husky when I was older. As I like hiking with dogs (I guess it's more rambling through the countryside when you're a kid :D ) I noticed a huge difference when we got our husky Calvin - no more wet dog, need to have towels everywhere, muddy dog, etc. That GR would find the smallest patch of mud and roll in it like a pig if there was no standing water around. But Calvin hated water, and would walk on rocks rather than get his feet wet at stream crossings. So, you come home or go in the tent at night and always have nice dry dog, weather permitting.

 

But even still, after seeing everybody's cool dock dogs pix, I was weirded out that Odin doesn't seem to have *any* interest in water at all. And it's hot outside! I spoke to a coworker about it and he said that a lot of dogs have a particular type of waterbody they enjoy. Like, some dogs like streams, some like oceans, etc. I thought this a strange theory. I had always thought it must be an either-or proposition. But I have so far exposed Odin to a swimming pool (wouldn't get in even though it was over 100 and smoky), the ocean, and a creek and he's having none of it. Even when I tossed his object of all worship and desire, a frisbee, into 3 inches of water.

 

Anyway, your thoughts on the find-the-right-type-of-water approach?

 

ooky

+Odin (BC pup), Dr. Benway (ocicat), and Lobo (bengal)

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Not sure you have to "teach "a dog to swim its a survival thing if they have to they will.I agree that some dogs like water morer than others ,my Gypsy is just like Ouzo she was some sort of sea creature in a previous life but it took 2 years for her to enjoy coming out in water she couldnt touch the bottom in.I never forced her she just got more confident and now theres no stopping her!

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Last year, I had to teach one of mine to swim as rehab for a shoulder injury. This is one who is not terribly fond of water, as in, she doesn't even jump into the tub after working. I simply took her on a leash, and swam, making her follow (pulling her behind me). At first, she resisted, and clawed frantically at the closest solid thing she could find to get out, which happened to be my arm. So I looked wounded for a week or two. But, after a few days, she got the hang of it, and by the end of the first week, she got to the point where all I had to do was enter the water and call her to me--as long as I kept swimming, she would follow me around. Good exercise for both of us. And now, when the calves get into the pond because they know most of the dogs don't like to go in there to get them out, she's the champ--goes right in the water with no hesitation, and swims behind them to bring them out. Even flanks while swimming.

 

A

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... but it took 2 years for her to enjoy coming out in water she couldnt touch the bottom in..

 

That's funny - I don't think Ouzo realizes that he can actually touch the bottom sometimes and he keeps swimming until his chest hits the bottom of the lake. Often at the park there are some confused dogs who are just standing in the water up to their chest, and here comes Ouzo from far away, still swimming until he gets out of the water :rolleyes: He never just sits or lays in the water, he goes in full force and comes back the same way.

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Kona just learned how to swim in Lake Tahoe last month. It was such a proud moment..heh. Oh, and I say he "learned" because I played no part in "teaching" him.

 

As Ailsa said, whatever you do, DO NOT throw/drag/force/coerce Jade into the water. A behaviorist once told me - "Dogs have fears too - if a dog is afraid of the water, simply tossing it into the water does not make it instantly comfortable with the environment, it typically makes it more fearful."

 

With Kona, what I did was simply toss his ball up and down the shoreline for awhile so that he would get used to water's edge.

 

Then, instead of throwing it parallel to the shoreline, I backed up on the beach and tossed it outward toward the middle of the lake, but still where he could stand up - this so that he would get comfortable with sprinting full speed at a body of water.

 

Oh, I did make the mistake early on of "maybe if I just chuck it out there, he'll just swim right after it." WRONG - he bolted full speed out to the water, then when he couldn't touch bottom, he turned around and looked at me like, "What the heck did you go and do that for?!?!?!" I swam out and got it while he circled and sprinted back and forth on the shore.

 

Ultimately, I just began throwing it a bit farther out each time. At first, when he couldn't touch the bottom, he would lunge for it, then frantically paddle a bit and turn around. Pretty quickly after that he became comfortable with the whole paddling motion and was swimming like a champ!

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Guest SweetJordan
Why wouldn't you want to have a dog that swims?!?!?! Ouzo says he was a dolphin in his previous life.

 

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That's like Riley she loves the water, and so does Boomer. The only smell they get is wet dog smell, which is only temp. of course.

Sometimes the dogs just take right to the water and you really don't have to do anything. If your dog is interested but hesistant go in the water with her, and you may want to keep her on a leash the first time or two to keep her close. Bringing something that she likes out with you whether it's a toy or food to lure her is a good idea, but don't force her as already suggested. In deeper water you can hold your hands under her belly. That will help her to feel more secure as she practices her stroke. I love the water, beaches etc. So it's fun to have dogs who feel the same way.

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I brought Joy up to devils lake one time last year for her first hike and swim in wisconsin. She liked the water, and waded in till the water was at her chest. She would go deeper when I went in with her. A couple months ago when the water temperature became more tolerable (for me that is) I did it the bad non-doggy-friendly-impatient-owner way and just tossed her in. I figured she would just get over not liking to be where her feet were. She got over it- to the point where she's jumping off the dock and yanking me into the water. I think I just put her in the mindset that nothing horrible would happen to her. If she want to get out of the lake, I helped her out. I showed her nothing bad would happen.

 

But I certainly am NOT saying you should do that.

 

I just actually got back from the lake with my mom and the malinois. It's so funny watching my "slow" border collie who loses in land races swim against Knox. She's so dang fast! It's also funny watching Knox get frustrated when Joy hits the shore before him and she does a little victory dance :rolleyes:

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I found out (the hard way) that Dazzle didn't know how to swim when she fell in a lake as a pup. Many dogs just "know" (both of our Shih-Tzus could always swim just fine if you put them in the water). Daz on the other hand....she would always go out until as far as she could while keeping her paws on the ground, and if a ball was just out of reach she would even stand on her hind legs in the water to go father (I actually have pictures of it) - but she would NOT swim and didn't seem to know how.

 

This past Thursday we went to the beach and I went out in the water with her, supporting her body and helping her out a bit to stay afloat and after about an hour of on and off practice she finally figured out how to swim. Then with some more ball tossing she started perfecting her technique (less paw slapping!). It took awhile for her to get the idea though. Maybe she's just weird, I don't know.

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Like was said before NEVER NEVER force your dog into the water...they'll be scared for life and you'll be into endless work for them to overcome the fear.

 

Go into the shallows, put a floating toy there and tease them with it...even if the first catch is just about getting the feet wet.

then push it a bit further out. (if you have 2 dogs the competition might make them take "more risks" and they'll get into it quicker).

 

The dog has to learn that nothing comes nasty from the water it has to be a good experience. You might take a few sessions to finally get a dog into paddle depth.

 

Having swimming dogs is good, not only in terms of safety but it also increases the experiences you can have together.

 

There's also a theory i heard somewhere that a monthly salt water swim does wonders in prevention of ticks and other bugs.

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Not sure you have to "teach "a dog to swim its a survival thing if they have to they will.

 

I have never had a dog I have needed to teach to swim.

Out of 6 dogs, 2 like to swim, 2 love to play in water but prefer not to swim unless they have to and 2 paddle in the shallows and like to be able to see the bottom.

All of them can swim, though.

 

Pam

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Mine managed swimming without any encouragement from me. In fact my boy has been swimming since his very first after final injection walk in the big wide world. It wasn't intentional - he ran after Meg, who'd gone in the river after a stick, and simply carried on 'running' in the water :rolleyes:

 

He has never looked back. he LOVES water. Both my dogs love swimming - Meg will launch herself off rocks while Rhiw will go snorkelling ( sticking his head right under the surface of his stick sinks to the bottom.)

 

If your dog is reluctant, I guess do it in gradual stages - get him to retrieve a toy or ball from shallow water, then further out, and so on.

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There's also a theory i heard somewhere that a monthly salt water swim does wonders in prevention of ticks and other bugs.

 

Boy, I wish this was true because then we wouldn't have to be picking ticks and fleas off our dogs when we are down at the beach (and they swim in the sound a great deal every day we are there).

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In Western OR. We lived real close to a river and all my dogs swam. Maybe because one did and the others just followed. I never used pressure to make them go in. A tennis ball floated and I started by tossing it right near the water getting deeper and deeper. One of my dogs, Migraine, every year- I had to go in with her and "show" her, oh yea, I remember how to swim. I'd just go out a bit and call her and the others around me. After she was with me and found out "yea, I did this last year" she was fine. Usher, he isn't a swimmer. I have found out with male dogs, maybe they don't like to get their ummm, err, equipment- yea, that's the right word, wet. Some dogs are naturals. I love a swimmer, you just have to be careful where you take them and avoid those ugly ponds and stuff. Rivers are great- watch for the current.

Migraine was the type of dog that when you picked up up out of the water, her legs were still paddling. Anyone have one of those? They sure are cute.

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Well, just got back from the lake... swimming was a hit!! I'll upload pictures when I get home tomorrow!! :D

 

Anda- how do you pronounce Ouzo's name?? :rolleyes:

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Well, just got back from the lake... swimming was a hit!! I'll upload pictures when I get home tomorrow!! :D

 

Anda- how do you pronounce Ouzo's name?? :D

 

 

Glad you got a swimmer :D Now you know where you'll be spending the rest of your weekends this summer, and the next, and the next....

 

It's pronounced "oo-zo". Better, hear me pronounce it in this video from a couple of days ago:

 

And yes, he's named after the Greek anise-flavored liqueur - once you taste it, you never forget it (be that a good or bad experience :rolleyes: )

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Last summer at Glen Highland Farm, I taught Dean to swim. I did two things.

 

1. I had him watch Speedy swim out to retrieve toys. Dean loves to retrieve, so he was quite eager to know how Speedy was getting out there to get the toys.

 

2. I took Dean to a shallow area and threw the ball into very shallow water so he ran along the length of the shore (not away from it) to retrieve it. I did this over and over and over and gradually got in deeper, but always shallow enough that his feet touched the bottom.

 

After doing both of these things for several days, I went in with him when he was watching Speedy retrieve and I gave him the slightest push in Speedy's direction. It wasn't really forceful, but enough to give him the opportunity to try to swim. He did.

 

Swimming is now one of his favorite things and I love having a swimming dog. Sometimes he just swims around and has the most beatific expression on his face!

 

I also taught him to call off water in case he wants to swim somewhere it would be dangerous.

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Our male Aussie hates the water so when he is done with herding practice the trainer walks him in the pool and he gets his feet wet. Then she splashes water onto his legs and stomach. When he gets a bath (once or twice a year) he usually resists. THe last time he just got right in the tub. So, I would not recommend forcing them either. Just take it slow and reassure them there is nothing to fear. N

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My water loving dog hates baths and even laying in the cooling tank after a herding session. Hell, he hates rain and stepping into puddles, too :rolleyes: But throw a ball down Niagra Falls and Ouzo will be right there riding the ball down the falls ( that's why we left him in the car last summer when we went to Niagra :D )

 

In other words, just because one is not pleased with clean water, that doesn't mean they won't take like a fish to a bigger body of water.

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